A couple blocks can make a big difference.
It may be the difference in whether a child gets a good education or if he’s pushed into the workforce at 10 years old.
It may be the difference in whether an individual receives excellent medical care or is at the mercy of less-than-adequate public clinics.
It may be the difference in whether someone can expect to live a long and comfortable life or is fearful if they will make it through each day, violence surrounding them.
And, it may be the difference in whether people have access to the Gospel or are drastically separated from it.
We saw this difference today. We saw rich areas and poor areas. We saw people who were wrapped up in materialism (a common sight for us, coming from the US), and some that didn’t have even a tin shack to call home. We walked through elegant malls and cruised through neighborhoods that didn’t even have electricity.
Medellín is a very large city, with a metro population that is near 4 million people, and still growing! Another thing that you’ll notice is that the town is divided up into levels of status they have called “estratos.” They have a scale from 0-6, with 0 being the lowest (the homeless, perhaps), and 6 being the richest of the rich (community leaders and officials). Your “estrato” will determine much of what you do, who you spend time with, how you live life, and even how much you are charged for your water bill. It also determines your access to many community services.
Medellín is a land of contrasts for sure.
One major development they have made here to connect the city is their metro system. In a way, it is similar to the MARTA in Atlanta (for those of you that are familiar with it), but it has its differences. For one, they have two connecting MetroCable systems that take you up to remote parts of the city. Something like a glorified ski-lift. It only cost about 75 cents to go anywhere on the metro, including connections on the MetroCable. Not bad…
Here are a few photos we took throughout the day. As you look at these pictures let them break your heart for the need in Colombia. What more can we be doing to reach the lost?
Our hearts were broken today as we saw these things. There are a few evangelical works around this town, but nowhere near what is needed to give even half of these people access to the Gospel. The harvest truly is plenteous but the laborers are few!
Pray for us tomorrow as we spend most of the day at a 3 different children’s rescue homes. Our evening will be spent with a Colombian man and his family whose sister is a member of our church in Georgia. How exciting!
7. Pray for Help In Trials
2 Corinthians 1:8-11 “8For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life: 9But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead: 10Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us; 11Ye also helping together by prayer for us, that for the gift bestowed upon us by the means of many persons thanks may be given by many on our behalf.”
There will be many times that a missionary goes through hard times—political unrest, persecution, financial difficulties, health problems, disruptions in the ministry and so many other things. These are trials that merit our prayers.
But, instead of praying that God just take away the trials, pray that through the trials, there would be more dependence in God instead of the flesh.
That’s what God’s word tells us here. We can face the hardest of trials because we have a great God. He is our sufficiency. He is our all in all. He delivers us.
Pray for your missionaries to have help in trials.
8. Pray For A Fruitful Ministry!
John 15:16 “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.”
There is probably nothing more frustrating to a full-time Christian worker than not seeing fruit after hard work in the ministry.
You’ve probably been there yourself. You feel like your wheels are turning and you aren’t getting anywhere. You’re just going through the motions. There is no fruit. There are no results. There just doesn’t seem to be anything happening.
So, let’s back up a little. What is fruit? Spiritual fruit is seeing souls saved, lives changed, the work of God advanced and His Glory elevated!
The Bible talks a lot about having fruit. He tells us that having the Holy Spirit in our lives will bring forth certain fruit. He warns us to watch out for false teachers, because “by their fruits ye shall know them.” He also informs us that some may plant and others may water, but it is God that brings the increase.
So how can we actually pray for a fruitful ministry? Pray that God gives wisdom in sowing the seed. Just as the parable of the sower of the seed, a lot of effort might be invested in sowing seed into ground that is stony, thorny, bare and infertile before the good ground is found. Missionaries will have to reach out to many people to win just a few souls. May God give direction as to where those few souls are located.
Also pray that the missionary doesn’t give up. Many times God gives a dream that won’t come to fruition until years later. It takes a long time to nurture an apple tree before it begins to yield good fruit. Many ministries may be the same.
And lastly, pray that the name of God is lifted high, no matter the quantity of fruit that is harvested. A missionary may get discouraged that his ministry isn’t as big as another missionary’s ministry. That isn’t the point. Let’s get our eyes off of other people and onto Jesus, the Author and the Finisher of our faith. The Bible tells us that some will bring forth thirty fold, others sixty fold, and even others one hundred fold fruit. The main thing is that we are faithful with the seed that God gives us, faithful in distributing it, and faithful in harvesting it. God will handle the rest.
Pray for a fruitful ministry.
9. Pray For A Missionary’s Personal Battles!
Every family experiences its hardships. Every marriage has its stresses. Every individual has personal temptations and battles. But I dare say that those in Christian leadership face all these battles multiplied over many times.
One man once said, the higher you rise in leadership the bigger the target you become.
How true that is for missionaries! Satan knows that if he can stop an otherwise faithful missionary, he can stop the salvation of hundreds, thousands or even millions of people when you take into account the fruit of those that the missionary will train.
Being so far from those that are close to them, many times missionaries face battles with loneliness. They face battles as they adapt to a foreign language, a different culture and a whole different set of customs. Because of the nature of their financial support, they face battles with finances. Their income can vary by hundreds or even thousands of dollars per month, and if this becomes the focal point of their attention, stress will ensue. Any problem that may already exist in a marriage is brought to the surface and magnified when put under the pressure and stress that being on the mission field can cultivate.
Pray that the missionary resists temptations. Satan wants to see him fall. He’ll do what it takes to get him to stumble, because he knows that others are watching him.
Pray for your missionary’s personal battles. So they can be prepared to stand in the evil day. And having done all, to stand.
So how do we put all of this into practice?
Well, as I mentioned in Point 1, you have to connect with your missionaries to know what’s going on in their lives and ministries. After you know these things you can more efficiently pray for them and their families.
Get a burden for their ministry. Make it your ministry! Put yourself in their shoes and pray for their family as if it were your own.
Set aside time to pray for your missionaries. Make a list of missionaries to pray for and pray for them. Pray for them individually. Pray for them as a family. Pray for them with friends from your church. Pray for them continually!
Pray for missions collectively and specifically. What do I mean by that? Pray for the missionaries as a whole, but then also take time to mention them by name. Then, beg God to do a work in the world as he raises up laborers for His harvest.
Let’s pray for our missionaries!
One of the most amazing events all year is taking place at this very moment. Here’s some info from their website here:
“For the Sake of His Name will be the theme for all the Our Generation Events in our 2011 season. This is a theme that is very dear to the hearts of all us on the Our Generation Team. We believe as you hear stories from the past and present about young men and young ladies going “for the sake of His Name” you will be motivated to help those going in the future go for the same purpose. You can learn more about the story that inspired this theme by reading about the lives of John Leonard Dober and David Nitschman.
The Our Generation Summit is an annual gathering in Pigeon Forge, TN, of Christians with a heart for world missions. Pastors and missionaries, teachers and students, businessmen and families join for three days to address the needs of a world waiting for the Gospel.”
One of the things that disgusts me the most about our society today is the condition of manhood. Men are wimps. Men are perverts. Men are immature. Most of today’s men are the farthest thing from a biblical man as you can get. Even in our “churches.” This article was a challenge to me. Are man enough to read it? Enjoy
How to Honor Your Wife
Now, my tone is for the men. We speak to men differently than women. Were this a women’s conference, I would not call you all idiots and imbeciles and fools, that you’re a joke, okay? But you men, this is where it needs to go. You’ve been glad-handed and buddied up and positive thinking and you’re a winner and Jesus loves you and you can do better. And I’m telling you, you’re a joke. And the real men in the room know it and they see it. And maybe there’s one woman that you fooled and she doesn’t see it because like Eve, she’s deceived.
First Peter 3:7, here’s what he has to say:
“Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.”
In the previous verse, 1 Peter 3:6, he said that women, when it comes to marriage are prone toward, what? Fear. Fear. And you know what? Those fears that the women have about marriage are legitimate, they are.
If a woman marries a man, she’s trusting him with the rest of her life that he won’t hit her, cheat on her, that he’ll work hard, that he’ll pay the bills, that he’ll love their children, that he’ll finish the race well, that he’ll walk with Jesus ‘til the end, that if she gets sick, he’ll look after her, that if she is dying, he will be faithful to her.Gentlemen, it is a terrifying thing for a woman to trust a sinful man.
As a man, I don’t think I fully understood this until I had daughters, and now I have some understanding of that fear. The thought of taking one of my daughters and walking them down the aisle and handing them to a man and trusting that he will love them and protect them and serve them and care for them and look after them, it causes me fear, grave concern.
The women have legitimate fears and what Peter is saying is that men need to be a particular way so that those fears are alleviated. And I love his words, “in an understanding way, showing honor.” That’s a man. That’s a man. Now as I say this, many of you guys will nod your head and say, “Yeah, that’s me.” No, you’re not. So let me practically unpack this for you. Every man who hears this, even the best men among us, has areas of repentance and growth that are required. And so I want to talk to you men about some things that your woman will fear.
1. Honor your wife maritally.
What this means is, gentlemen, you’re not looking for a girlfriend if you are single. You’re not looking for a roommate. You’re not looking for a cohabitation partner. You’re looking for a wife. You’re looking for a wife. If he can’t even honor you while dating, that is when he is on his best behavior. I don’t care if he apologizes, does he repent and lead? Being sorry is not enough; being Christ-like is what is necessary. Ephesians 5:25, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.” Is he selfless or selfish? Does he give himself up for you or does he take from you?
When you get married, men, you are to be a one-woman man. That’s the requirement of an elder and that is the example for all men.
You’re not the flirt guy.
You’re not the female buddies guy.
You’re not the download porn guy.
You’re not the “I got another gal on the side I always keep in case of emergency” guy.
You’re not the wandering eye guy.
If you are, you’re not honoring marriage and you’re not honoring your wife. I know some complete fools, they like to take their wedding ring off when they go out to the sports bar with the boys. Do you honor your marriage covenant? Do you take responsibility as the head of the marriage covenant, take responsibility for the well- being of the woman?
See, a woman has great fear. If you don’t honor marriage, she is statistically going to go into poverty upon divorce. She will become yet another single mother. She’ll have to find a way to explain to the children of why they shouldn’t be embittered against you even though you’re a loser. See, these fears are very legitimate. See the women have seen this so many times that they’re fearful of men.
2. Honor her physically.
Peter says that the woman is the “weaker vessel.” What that means is that generally speaking, if a husband and a wife get in a fistfight, he’ll win. I’ll give you an example. Many of you have seen my wife, Grace. If we get in a fight, it’s not a fair fight. I have an 18-inch neck, she has an 18-inch waist. If someone breaks into our home, I’m not “Go get ‘em, baby. You’re the tough one here. I’ll pray. I’ll pray. I’ll pray. I’ll pray imprecatory prayers in the closet.”
You know what, gentlemen? You are stronger than your woman.
Do you ever hit her?
Do you ever shove her?
Do you ever push her?
Do you ever grab her, restrain her?
Do you ever raise a hand and threaten her?
Do you ever intimidate her with physical violence?
Do you give her that look, that pierced, glazed, violent, angry, don’t-push-it-now’s-a-good-time-to-shut-up look?
Do you tell her, “I’m getting very angry, you should just shut up right now. It’s gonna go bad for you”?
Do you get right in her face?
Do you intimidate her with your presence?
Shame on you. A man who picks on a woman, what a joke. What a joke.
Have you ever forced yourself on a woman? You’re a rapist. You’ll say, “She’s my wife.” You’re a rapist.
You know, when someone is attacked, we call it abuse. As horrible as that is, what is even worse is torment. Torment is when you’re abused and you can’t get out. This is like prisoners of war and those who are held captive in slavery. For some women, their version of slavery and captivity and torment is called marriage. Their husband is physically intimidating. She’s afraid of him. She can’t leave, at least that’s what she thinks. She feels stuck, particularly if she’s got children. Some of you guys are tormentors and abusers and rapists and husbands and Christians, and that is absolutely inexcusable.
Most men don’t walk around thinking about their personal safety. I know a lot of women who do. Does she feel safe with you? Ladies, if you’re dating a guy who has ever been physically violent, run for your life, run for your children’s life, run for your grandchildren’s life. If he’s ever even threatened you with violence, there is something profoundly demonic in that man. There is something sincerely wrong in that man. He will then apologize, tell you he is sorry. He will shed a few tears, say it will never happen again and he will subtly shift the blame to you. “You know when you do that, it just makes me really angry. Don’t do that again.” “Oh, okay, it must be my fault.” It’s never your fault. It doesn’t matter what you say or do, if a man hits you, harms you, he’s in sin, no excuse.
And there are some guys, some absolute block-headed idiots who think when the Bible says that you’re the head of the home, that it means you get to be the bully. There’s nothing uglier than a guy who then takes this same disposition toward his children, especially his daughters. The grossest, vilest thing is a man who hits a woman, and the man who hits a woman is willing to hit his own daughter. It’s disgusting.
3. Honor your wife emotionally.
Some of you say, “I’m not emotional, I don’t connect.” You should. Men and women have the same emotions; they express them in masculine and feminine ways. Your wife needs intimacy. She wants you to know her. She wants to know you. She wants you to open up. She wants you to be passionate and loving and honest, and she wants to know you and she wants to be known by you. And the Bible says that Adam was with his wife, Eve, and he, what? He knew her. He knew her.
There are too many guys that turn marriage into a job description. He does his responsibility, she does hers, and there’s no emotional connection whatsoever. And see, those are guys whose sins are sins of omission. “I didn’t hit her, I didn’t yell at her.” Yeah, but you didn’t love her. You didn’t connect with her. You didn’t encourage her. You didn’t pursue her. So ultimately, you failed her.
4. Honor her verbally.
How do you speak to her? Do you have nasty nicknames for her? Do you raise your voice? Do you threaten her? Do you give back-handed comments? Some of you guys would say, “I would never hit a woman.” How about with your tongue? How about with your tongue? Not just speaking to your wife, but about her. Not just speaking to her in her presence, but speaking about her in her absence. When you wife is not there and you’re with the boys, how do you speak of her? What do you say about her? You know what? Your children will pick this up as well. You start saying horrible things about your wife, and the children will be left in this horrible position of choosing between their mother and father and invariably some of the children will despise their own mother and speak evil of her in an effort to remain loyal to their father. See a division in a marriage includes the children, they’re stuck in the middle. They’re casualties of the war.
You men could defuse this and take away this fear by honoring her verbally. Speaking honestly, respectfully, lovingly to her and about her. See, some of you guys, you forget. You say, “Well, Jesus isn’t there. My wife isn’t there. I get to say whatever I want.” No, Jesus is there even when your wife’s not there. God, see God hears everything. God sees everything. God knows everything, and you’re not getting away with anything.
5. Honor your wife financially.
“If a man does not provide for the needs of his family, he’s denied the faith and worse than an unbeliever.” There’s a verse. See, the woman’s curse was her children and submitting to her husband. The man’s curse was providing for his family. And what the weakest, most impish, worthless men among us do is “Oh, my load is heavy. I know yours is heavy, but I need you to carry half of mine too.” Men, you gotta work. You gotta work hard. You’ve gotta out-work the other men if you want to feed your family. That’s your responsibility as a man. If you want any men to respect you, if you want your wife to respect you, if you want your children to respect you, you pay the bills. You make the money, you feed the family.
We live in this day where there are guys telling their wives, “Hey, birth control, abortion,” “We can’t have kids,” “You make too much money,” “I don’t like responsibility.” Shame on you. There’s nothing sadder than a woman who loves Jesus and wants to be a mom, and the husband keeps saying, “I’m the head of the home, no.” What he’s saying is “I’m in charge and I command you to sin,” to deny all of your maternal instincts. Titus 2, “The woman should be homeward in her orientation.”
“We’re a culture that is working hard to protect women and children, and no one has the common sense to beat on the guys who are the cause of so much of the pain.”
And I know that some of you guys are gonna hear this. You’re gonna say, “Oh, but this is outdated.” Yes, and I would say look at the condition of marriages and families in our culture and ask if it’s working. The latest statistics, 40 percent of all children are born out of wedlock. It is now at the point where women aren’t even pretending they’re gonna ever get married. They go to college, get a good job, get pregnant, have a kid. They’ve lost any hope of ever finding a guy who can actually carry the load, and that’s tragic. We’re a culture that is working hard to protect women and children, and no one has the common sense to beat on the guys who are the cause of so much of the pain.
I know guys as well, they’re not generous. I know one guy, he’s such an idiot. This guy makes decent money and he’s totally chintzy with his wife. She gets no spending money, can’t go out to coffee with the girls ‘cause he’s a total control freak and tightwad. Be honoring of your wife financially, and I’m not saying you’re gonna live at this lavish and high level. But what I am saying is this: you live within your means, you make a budget, you tithe, spend, save, invest well. And I know it’s hard to live on one income. I know it’s hard. I know it’s particularly difficult in this economic climate, but for some of you boys, it’s a built-in excuse to be irresponsible.
Statistically as well, if you have children, and put them in day care so mom can work, the other costs that are associated, eating out, take-out, dry cleaning, car, second phone, cell phone, things of that nature, plus the increased tax breaks and costs and burdens… The truth is very rarely does a wife go out and get a job and contribute anything to the bottom line of the family. The taxes alone eat a huge portion of it. MSNBC did a big study on this years ago and they brought the data to the mothers who dropped their kids off at the day care. “You’re providing nothing to the income of the family,” and the women are bawling, having a nervous breakdown on television, saying, “Well, then why am I even going to work?” Good question, because that guy doesn’t even know how to run numbers on taxes. He’s not smart enough to find somebody to figure it out for him. He just says, “Put the kids in day care, get a job, shoulder half of my curse. Oh and by the way, I forgot to run the numbers, come to find it’s not really helping.” Honor her financially.
6. Honor her practically.
Some guys, the house is a wreck. It’s never finished. The furniture’s broken. The car hardly starts. They live far away from community. They don’t have a schedule. They don’t have a budget. They don’t have a plan. She doesn’t know what’s going on. The practical stuff of life, the guy’s just a zoo, just an absolute, disorganized, unplanned, throw-it-together-at-the-last-minute, hope-that-it- works nightmare. Honor her practically. Do you have a budget? Do you have a schedule? Do you have an integrated plan? Do you have a life?
7. Honor her parentally.
Gentlemen, your wife wants you to love the kids. She wants you to help raise them. She wants you to love them, to pursue them. She wants you to get guy time with the boys. She wants you to get daddy dates with the girls. She wants you to do Ephesians 6 and be their pastor. She wants you to read the Bible with ‘em. She wants you to pray with ‘em. And you know what? You should too.
So many guys who are even Christians think “I pay for Christian school, I send the wife and kids to the Christian church. I’ve done my Christian duty.” No, you’ve abdicated your responsibility to others. It’s your job to love your kids. It’s your job to pray with your kids. It’s your job to teach the Bible to your kids. It’s your job to encourage your kids. It’s your job to discipline your kids.
A wife will be so forgiving of so many things if she actually knows that her husband desperately loves their children, that he serves them, that he cares for them, that he’s tender with them, that he’s Pastor Dad for them. So few children actually have a father. So few of those actually have a Christian father and how few of those actually have a dad who’s doing his job.
And I’ll tell you what, guys, this is not something you have to do; it’s something you get to do. This is wonderful. I mean every night, my daughter Alexie, blond hair, blue eyes, looks like Tinkerbell, “Poppa Daddy, I need a piggyback ride and a Bible story.” You know what? I do too. I need that as much as Alexie. I weep thinking of the day that I’m not gonna be giving her piggyback rides, so I give her as many piggyback rides as I can ‘cause it’s a great season and a wonderful opportunity.
What this means, gentlemen, is your priorities will be Christian, husband, father, employee. Those are your first four duties, it’ll take most of your life. You’re not gonna have a lot of time. Probably gonna need to put down your tools, your hobbies, your car, your projects, your golf clubs, your Xbox and probably going to need to put down the remote control and your laptop and your iPod to honor your wife parentally. You’re not gonna have a lot of time for a lot of other things. And gentlemen, your goal is not to stand before God and tell him what level you got to on “World of Warcraft.”
8. Honor her spiritually.
And all of this comes down to this point. There are between 11 and 13 million more Christian women than men. Many women go to church on their own. They have to drag their husband to church, they drag their children to church. It is your job, men, to lead spiritually. You pray with the family. You read the Bible with the family. You pick a good church, become a member of it, submit to it. You pick the community group or midweek class you will be in. You are the one to lead the family spiritually.
Some guys say, “Well, I don’t know what to do.” Just start by praying with your wife. There are women who will hear this sermon and deep down in their heart, this is what they want the most, “If my husband would just pray with me.” There are some of you guys, you pray with all kinds of people, you don’t pray with your wife. Do you pray with your wife? Do you pray with your kids? Do you read the Bible with your wife? Do you talk about Jesus with your wife? Do you talk about Jesus with your kids? Leading spiritually is the foundation of everything else.
Many have tried to guess what our “Big Announcement” would be. Are we having another baby? Are we starting deputation? Did we win the lottery? lol… Most have probably figured it out already by hearing it through the grapevine, picking up on hints, or just being super smart. Well, wait no longer to be sure. Here’s our big news:
Dear Friends and Family,
Greetings in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ! We hope this letter finds you blessed by God, and living daily for His Kingdom. Aubrie and I have some exciting news to share. We are thrilled to announce that we will be taking our survey trip to Colombia in February of 2011!! This is something that we have been anticipating for years as God has burdened us for this place that so desperately needs Christ.
Colombia is commonly reported as the least evangelized of all Latin American countries, yet in recent years its doors are opening wide to the Gospel. Its reputation as a violent and dangerous country is also changing as leftist rebel groups and drug lords are loosing ground. On our trip, we plan to spend 2 weeks visiting missionaries and national pastors that are there doing the work, as well as scan out the land to see exactly where God would have us eventually live and serve. This is a vital step for us.
God has been working on my heart for missions since I was 11 years old. I have been able to go on several mission trips around the globe, including a 6-month internship in Peru, South America. I graduated in 2007 from the Baptist College for World Evangelism. In 2006 God allowed me to begin and pastor a Spanish ministry out of my home church, Lighthouse Baptist Church in Dawsonville, GA under Pastor Charles Blackstock. We have seen God do some amazing things during the past 4 years! People have been saved and baptized, lives have been changed, and we’ve seen many rise up in leadership. We have learned so much that will be put to use on the mission field. Although we love serving in the Spanish ministry, our heart is continually burdened for Colombia. We see that God is now opening the door to move on to the next stage of our lives. This survey trip is the next step for us before deputation.
As much as we anticipate our upcoming trip to Colombia, we desperately need your help in order to get there. We need people that will partner with us prayerfully and financially. This trip will cost around $3,500. We know that God will provide every penny, but we also know that he uses people to carry out his work. Will you be one of these people? Will you be a yokefellow together with us? If so, you can make a check out to Lighthouse Baptist Church and mark it “Vance Colombia Trip,” then mail it to 329 Harmony Church Rd. Dawsonville, GA 30534. This gift is tax deductable. If you would like to follow our life and ministry, feel free to check out our website at: www.BeMagnified.com. Thank you, and may God continue to bless you and your family.
May Christ Be Magnified,
Aaron, Aubrie & Amira Vance